The Mowlem reopens after lockdown with a surprise!

Love it or hate it, the exterior of Swanage’s theatre, The Mowlem, likes to be controversial and this Christmas, residents have been gifted a surprise light show to mark its reopening.

The Mowlem team concocted the plan while the theatre was snowballed during the second Covid lockdown but as soon as they could, they got to work to install the lighting rig around the parapet of the building.

Coloured lights on the exterior of the Mowlem for Christmas
Coloured lights on the exterior of the Mowlem for Christmas

“We think the lights look really punchy and professional”

The Mowlem’s operations manager, Thomas Curtis said:

“Lighting up the exterior of The Mowlem is something that we’ve wanted to do for a while and now that we’ve made the inside nice, we thought it was time to do something on the outside.

“After the second lockdown it felt like the right time and let’s face it, we’ve had two small Christmas trees outside for so many years and it was time for a change.

“We have still got a Christmas tree but this time it’s a large one at the entrance and has been kindly donated by Jamie Rudge, who runs Christmas Trees in Swanage.

“The lighting equipment has been imported from Germany and we’ve got data control so we can programme it into a lighting desk. The lighting sequence is on a seven minute loop and has got a sophisticated timer so they will be on 4 pm to 11 pm for the festive season.

“We’ve bought the equipment so the plan is to light up the building for our evening performances throughout the year.

“We think the lights look really punchy and professional – they look the part! Certainly people have been extremely positive. They’re very happy about the effort that’s been made and it’s been a nice surprise. It’s good to get positive feedback on our controversial-looking building!”

The team installing the new lights

Its doors open on Friday 4th December 2020

For a second time, following a lockdown, The Mowlem is reopening. Its doors open on Friday 4th December 2020 with an evening film showing of Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella.

The box office will open in the morning from 10.30 am to 1.30 pm for ticket sales. There are a few tickets left for the showing but everyone has to buy in advance so all the seats can be socially distanced to ensure safety.

The last time The Mowlem opened after lockdown was with Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes, so it seems appropriate to reopen with another of his classics.

The rest of the December programme will go ahead as planned including the new film version of A Christmas Carol.

Coloured lights on the exterior of the Mowlem for Christmas
Coloured lights on the exterior of the Mowlem for Christmas

First live show at The Mowlem since the first lockdown

Also local singer, Karen Grant will present a Christmas Show, with special guests, comedian Simon Wells and the acoustic duo, Tranquility at 7.30 pm on Friday 18th December 2020 in support of the Lewis-Manning Hospice. This is the first live show at The Mowlem since the first lockdown in March 2020.

Karen Grant said:

“I’m so looking forward to seeing friends and the community of Swanage in the newly refurbished Mowlem and singing again after nine months! It’s lovely to be back performing to an audience and celebrating Christmas, which we all need especially this year.”

“This is going to be a great show with Simon Wells and his genius in making us laugh with his own take on local things and life in general and also the acoustic guitarist, Bob Stevens, who makes the guitar sound incredible with his tenderness.”

The performances that were cancelled in November will now go ahead in January 2021 and everyone’s tickets will remain valid for the rescheduled date.

This includes a show by singer and comedian, Richard Digance and the films, Kinky Boots, Matthew Bourne’s The Car Man and The Merry Wives of Windsor performed at the Globe Theatre.

Coloured lights on the exterior of the Mowlem for Christmas

“Lots of potentially exciting things happening”

Thomas Curtis added:

“For 2021 there are lots of potentially exciting things happening however we can’t reveal them yet! But bringing back to Swanage, all the films and performances that people have missed in 2020, is 100 percent the plan!”

Further information

The full programme of all the performances are on The Mowlem website

Share this story

Contact us

Do you have anything to add to this story?

We like to keep everything up-to-date, so if you know more, please help us by getting in touch.

Community comments